In this edition of Feed International we return to our examination of the world’s top feed companies, and it makes for some positive reading. The world certainly does not stand still.
With the highs in animal feed ingredient prices it is easy to focus on the negative, but, as this issue shows, there have plenty of positives. The commonest headlines over the last months may have focused on inflation and volatility, but looking back at reports from around the world, there have also been consolidations, acquisitions and expansions along with investments.
Some things are worth celebrating, and you will read across the following pages that a number of companies have achieved records and accolades. Rather than fretting about the future, they are simply getting on with business.
Investment is often one of the first areas to be axed when times are tough, but for long-term success this is often a mistake. The present may well be tough, but the future is still ahead of us, and it is best to be prepared. Many companies have, however, been able to maintain their investment levels, and underlying this investment is motivation — an additional key factor for success.
From little acorns, mighty oak trees grow. While oak trees may be slow growing, little by little they do become solid trees. Progress can come in small steps, as we have seen with the ongoing European attitudes on GMO, and sometimes two steps forward can lead to one step back, but at least there is commitment from the industry to try to solve the difficulties in the market.
Alongside the progress on GMO there continues to be investment in alternatives, and we will continue to look at this topic in various ways over the year ahead.
And of course demand for feed continues to grow. Incomes are rising in countries that a couple of decades ago were largely ignored and that in a couple of decades’ time could be the biggest consumers. And these markets are likely to have a different attitude toward production and production techniques that could leave more old-fashioned markets in the dust.
Investing in creativity and new ideas is essential if producers are not to wither away and die. And for those operating in the feed industry, it is not simply a question of keeping pace with competitors and rising to the challenge of high input costs, but also having to operate in an environment where there are increasing demands on inputs to contend with and also the ever-unpredictable weather.
While there is always unpredictability, and often storm clouds on the horizon, there will always be a need for feed and food.
Alongside all of these ever-changing variables there is also the continuing shift in power and resources toward Asia, and this year, unsurprisingly, our look at the industry reveals a higher number of Asian companies occupy the top 20 slots compared to last year’s overview.
Of course everything can change, and no doubt when we revisit our top companies next year, some names will be missing, some will have moved up the ranks and some will have moved down, but change and adaption are necessary components of a healthy industry.